Captivations - a series

Captivations is my ongoing series at Wicked Nights, about two vampire brothers who own a nightclub in New Orleans, and the havoc that is wreaked on one of them when the new day keeper arrives!
Captivations 1: Captivations

Blurb: Avery Deacon is a very controlling man - for a vampire.  He and his brother Ben own and operate the nightclub Captivations in the Faubourg Marigny in New Orleans.  Having unexpectedly lost their daykeeper, they are in urgent need of another - but when Father Christopher sends them Jillian Nichols, all hell breaks loose.

Excerpt:“Meetin’ a date, honey?”

Jillian glanced at the grinning cabbie, her expression veiled by her black fedora, before continuing the count he had interrupted.  Ten, twenty, thirty, forty.  That covered the fare plus allowed for a decent tip, whether he deserved it or not.   She bit back her annoyance at his question, thrusting the money into his outstretched palm.  He didn’t seem to expect an answer, and she didn’t give him one.

“Thanks, cutie.”  He stuffed the cash inside his garish Day-Glo shirt, and drove off.

Jillian checked the letter again.  Captivations on Frenchmen Street, Faubourg Marigny, New Orleans.  The numbers matched the ones on the building, so this must be the place.  No neon lights disturbed the serenity of the old neighborhood.  If you didn’t know what you were looking for, you could walk right by it and never know what you’d missed.

Jillian hefted her suitcase from one hand to the other.  This building was similar to the others along the street.   It was a mixture of Italianate and Grecian Revival architecture, with a fondness for wrought iron which manifested itself in the balcony on the second floor, as well as the balustrade which lined either side of the steps.  It seemed a little darker than the others, a little quieter.  She shrugged.

Might as well go in, she decided, and face the music.  Father Christopher had warned her not to expect a warm reception.  She had told him she didn’t need one.  She was there to do a job, to the best of her ability, and for as long as she was needed.  No one and nothing was going to prevent her from doing it.  Not even the notorious Avery Deacon.

Captivations 2: All That Jazz

Blurb: When an irresistible force meets an unmoveable object, what will be the result?  Can Jillian Nichols persuade Avery Deacon to simply let her do her job? Or will he force her to leave his club for good? Ben and Wohali have a wager riding on this contest of the wills.  What do they know that Jillian doesn't?

Excerpt:  As far as Avery Deacon was concerned, the day keeper matter was finished the moment he walked away from the beautiful annoyance known as Jillian Nichols. An opinion which he confirmed with the slamming of his office door. There was nothing else to be said, and nothing he was willing to listen to. He had every intention of giving Father Christopher a piece of his mind, telling the priest what he could
do with his insane ideas in the future. Not that he didn’t respect the man, he most certainly did. Avery wanted to make sure there would never be a repeat performance of this little fiasco. The only thing which
restrained him from placing an angry trans-Atlantic telephone call was the knowledge that for the priest it
was the middle of the night, therefore an exercise in futility unless he wished to vent his spleen on the
man’s voice mail. Avery almost called anyway.

He had just clicked on his 30” flat screen computer monitor – one of his state of the art toys - when he
heard his door open. He assumed it was Wohali with his coffee and his periodicals. An important part of
his morning ritual, he loved the strong Creole coffee that the bartender blended so well. It was the closest
thing he had found to what he had once enjoyed in his native France. Well, what passed for his morning
for the past few centuries.

Avery waved the bartender in without glancing up, intent upon something on his screen. Therefore he
was very taken by surprise when his cup of coffee was set abruptly onto the desk before him, the fine
china cup sloshing some of its contents into its saucer. A mere few centimeters closer and it would have
been gracing his lap. It wasn’t Wohali. It was her. Again. She just didn’t know how to take no for an
answer, did she?

The nightclub had certainly become quieter now that Leonie had high-heeled her way out. Before
Wohali could react to Avery’s demands, the redhead had taken both the coffee and the newspapers and
followed determinedly after him. Ben suspected that a storm of another sort was about to brew in his
brother’s office. He’d no doubt he’d hear a full report of everything which transpired within those four
walls, probably at the top of Avery’s lungs. He took his brother’s vacated seat at the bar, grinning

“What do you think?” he asked the bartender.

“About what?” Wohali’s face was impossible to read, but Ben knew better, detecting more than a hint
of humor in his tone.

“You know what. About that woman. How quickly do you think he’ll throw her out of his office?”
Wohali shook his head, leaning against the back bar, his eyes roving the length of the bar as he kept
an eye out for thirsty customers. “He’ll keep her,” he said, confidently.

“Why do you say that?” Ben asked curiously. “Weren’t you paying attention? He doesn’t want
anything to do with her, and you know why.”

“Maybe, but none of that matters anymore. He’ll keep her because she’ll make him,” was the matterof-
fact reply.

“Make Avery? Seriously?” Ben scoffed. No woman had ever gotten the better of his brother. Avery
was always in charge, and always had been. He’d always been able to control them, even in days long
past, when they were living breathing young men, and the wards of the most powerful man in France.
Even then, women had been his to use, even if Avery hadn’t quite mastered his ability to control them.

“She’s different,” the black man maintained. “There’s something about her. I don’t know what it is,
but she’s gonna give your brother a run for his money. That much I can tell.”

“I think you’re an optimist,” Ben laughed. “Care to put your money where your mouth is?”

“I’m just a poor bartender.” Wohali’s eyes gleamed as he leaned across the bar, his gaze fixed upon
Ben. “I’ll tell you what, though. I’ll bet you a day’s wages that he not only does not throw her out, but
that she’ll be working here by the time she’s done in there.”

“You’re on!” Ben’s hand shot straight out. Wohali took it without hesitation, and the bet was sealed.
“Aren’t you going to miss a day’s pay? You might have to take an extra shift to make up for it.”
“We’ll see.” Wohali winked as he turned to a customer, taking his order. Ben just shook his head.

Blurb:  While Avery's pole dance seems to have driven Jillian to drink, he can't deny that she's had an effect upon him as well.   Wohali gives Jillian the guided tour of Captivations,  while Avery waits for outside news, which isn't forthcoming.  He needs a distraction before thoughts of Jillian drive him crazy.

Excerpt:  The dance floor went dark once more.   Avery slipped into the shadows, up the stairs to his office and away from everyone, at least for now.  He had worked out his initial frustration, as was his wont, through the medium of the pole and the physicalities of the dance.  Now what he desired  more than anything was a shower.  It would serve to set his mental equilibrium on a more even keel.

The hot water felt good on his hard body.  He turned it up as high as he could stand, welcoming the sting of the scalding pellets, trying to ignore the growing evidence that he was not only annoyed by Jillian Nichols, but attracted to her.  That was one fact – but not the only one -  which he intended to keep hidden from her.  And everyone else.

There was a reason he did not permit female day keepers, a very valid reason.  Even though it had been more than fifty years since the events which haunted him even now, he’d seen no reason to change his stance on the subject, remaining closemouthed and adamant whenever the subject arose.

Until now.

Dammit, why in the name of all that was holy, had he allowed her to get to him in this way?  There was not even a resemblance between them that he could blame this on; she was nothing like the other day keeper except in the matter of her gender.  Jillian had titian tresses that from a distance spelled trouble. Up close, such as when he had been standing just behind her, they invited touching.  Camille, on the other hand, had hair that was pure platinum, falling like a curtain over her face when she leaned toward him and . . . 

He pushed the thought resolutely away and turned the knob up, as hot as he could get it.  He was going to need a distraction when he got out, and he knew it.  Someone other than Jillian Nichols.

Blurb: Things are heating up at Captivations!  First Serena catches Avery kissing Jillian in his office, in the dark. Then the handsome vampire tells Serena he can't play with her, he has things to do. Do those things include taking Jillian outside of the nightclub? Where are they going and what are Avery Deacon's intentions?

Excerpt:  The subtle light of the nightclub which poured through the half-open office door illuminated quite an interesting scene – the nightclub owner and the day keeper, engaged in a kiss. Neither Jillian nor Avery moved a muscle, frozen in that impossibly intimate position, arms wound about one another, eyes locked in a visual embrace.  For once, neither had anything to say.  A genteel cough from a confused Serena recalled them to a greater awareness of their surroundings, and they each took a reluctant step backward, arms falling to their sides.

“I’m sorry, Avery,” the blonde apologized in honeyed Southern tones, “did I misunderstand your brother when he said you wished to see me?”

Avery tore his gaze away from Jillian and focused his attention on the other woman, the one he had actually arranged to bed, even though he now found his desire to do so inexplicably and suddenly flown.  He was too much of a gentleman to couch his lack of interest in such gauche terms.  

“Non, ma cherie,” he assured her, offering her an apologetic bow.  As he straightened, she bonelessly slid into his embrace.  He wrapped one arm about her shoulder. “I did indeed send for you.”

Jillian watched this charming performance with a growing resentment she couldn’t explain.  Anger flowed through her in warm waves. How dare that man kiss her without her permission?  Or was her frustration due to the knowledge that had she been presented with the opportunity to acquiesce in that kiss, she would have?  Now here she stood, a very invisible third wheel to whatever she had inadvertently interrupted between the two of them, merely for having taken delivery of a kiss which was not intended for her.

Was that the actual cause of her anger, the reason for her trembling, she questioned herself.  Jealousy?  She pushed the thought away as being ridiculous.  But, her common sense persisted, why was she still there then?  This would seem the most logical point at which to simply vacate the premises and leave these two to their own devices.

And yet she continued to stand her ground, watching as Avery did what he did so well.  

Chapter 4: Sins of the Past will be released on February 11th, at Wicked Nights.  A new chapter comes out every second Friday of the month!

They are all  currently unavailable for purchase due to the publisher having bailed, but I plan to finish the series and have it published in one piece. Keep watching for updates!